Friday, 2 October 2009
READERS WITH MINDS OF THEIR OWN - RICHARD JAY PARKER
With all the doom and gloom around in publishing it's good to find something positive to blog about. Yesterday was Super Thursday - the big day on the UK publishing calendar when the majors unveil all their books for the Christmas period. Yet, on the same day it was also reported that independent booksellers have gained market share during the first half of the year. Report here
This is encouraging for all of those who refuse to be poked down a market force rat run.
As the promo for my new dark thriller STOP ME runs into this giant publicity mechanism it's reasssuring to know that there are booksellers but above all readers who won't be swayed by that strategic display inside the door, the carefully positioned titles on the front of house table or those books that the major publishers have paid to have facing out from the shelf.
This is not me bad mouthing these titles or their publishers. It's business and everyone must compete to position their books at the most busy time of the year. But ultimately it's all down to readers and as a newcomer to this game it's cheering to know that readers aren't always as predictable or malleable as they're often believed to be.
As a new author I've been bowled over by the people who are prepared to take a gamble on STOP ME. A lot of readers like to adhere to authors who are popular or whom they've read before - after all, some people often don't have time to read so want a safe bet when they do get the chance. But now I'm learning about a breed of discerning book buyers who refuse to be brainwashed by the strategies of publishers and will walk that extra few feet behind the displays to find something rewarding in the A-Z section rather than grabbing what they're expected to.
These are the people who have been in touch with me via my website and Twitter, these are the people who have taken the time to leave positive reviews on the STOP ME Amazon page. If you listen to what the industry tells you, you wouldn't know these people existed.
I've been inspired by them and my own reading patterns have changed as a result. Consequently, I'm now reading a lot of new authors and not only is this satisfying in terms of finding some surprising, infinitely rewarding and quality reading material - it's also flicking the V's to mind control.
Meeting up with my fellow Curzon authors last night it struck me that a lot of us are promoting our first books and although it's a highly competitive market, all of us are selling. We all work hard towards promoting our books but there's only so much we can do. After that it's down to the quality of our books and the word of mouth that follows. As writers we must be doing something right but the decision for a reader to pick up our book and invest their time and money in it cannot be underestimated - particularly in the long hangover from recession.
Odds have already been taken on which books will be Christmas hits. I wonder how many will be reading STOP ME. The odds aren't great but as a man against the machine it would be great to hear that the Vacation Killer's deadly spam email will be entertaining a few more independently minded readers over the holiday.
Read more bout STOP ME at www.richardjayparker.com